New Hobbies in 2020

Like many others, I decided to try my hand at some new hobbies in 2020. I was always under the impression that I had no time for hobbies, but this year seems to have altered my perception of time and now I have a ton more hobbies.

My drawing of a bird!

In the spring, I started gardening and bird watching. In the winter, I am obviously not doing much gardening, but I have plans for next spring. I also started drawing, after wanting to do it all my life but convincing myself I would be no good at it so why even try. Now, I draw very often, and it become very therapeutic for me. (And if you like my drawings, feel free to follow me on Instagram @donna_photo_phylactery) However, I haven’t drawn much in the last month, as I was inspired to finish the first draft of a book I started a long time ago! This is very exciting but I still have a good month of editing, so I won’t talk about it that much.

Actually a portrait of the protagonist of my upcoming book!

These new hobbies got me to thinking about other stuff I have always wanted to try but put off until “later.” One of those things was learning to play the piano. I have no good reason not to play the piano, as we actually own a piano, and my older son has been taking lessons for about three years. I didn’t want to spend any money on hobbies, since I will never become a concert pianist, so I just use a piano app and the old piano books my son has long since graduated from.

My kids walking on a trail.

Since all this was not enough, I decided to learn a language in a game-like setting. I have, in the distant past, taken four years of Spanish. I decided Spanish would be a good language to learn now, since I may remember a little, I live in NYC and a lot of people speak it, I very occasionally come across it at work, and maybe someday I’ll even get to travel to a Spanish-speaking country again. Uno puede soñar!

The dark art of knitting and other yarns

Thinking back, I have always been somewhat of a crafty person. I was a very quiet child, and always preferred sitting quietly with my grandmothers to playing with other children. Mostly, I liked to sit and read, but one of my grandmothers was crafty, and instructed in the ways of these dark, yarn arts. She taught me everything from knitting, crochet, needlepoint, to rug hooking, although I never delved too deeply into any of them.

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I think I was five here, and making a Snoopy needlepoint!

As an adult, I realized that I could do only one crochet stitch, as long as someone started the chain for me. And knitting was lost entirely to the void that was my insane twenties. But around the time I was expecting my first child, I decided I wanted to try my hand at crafting again. I picked knitting as my medium of choice and a baby blanket as my first project. Unfortunately, I quickly figured out that I didn’t know how to knit as well as I thought I did. Fortunately, there was YouTube, and with it, a ton of instructional knitting videos.

After knitting a couple of practice squares and figuring out what pattern I wanted to use for the blanket, I was ready to begin! Sadly, that’s when my wrists decided to swell up and be extremely painful on bending (this is actually a fairly common horrible thing your body does to you when you’re pregnant). So I was only able to do one row a night until about five months after a had the baby, when my wrists went back down to normal. And just before the baby’s first birthday, I was finally able to finish the blanket!

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Here is the completed blanket in all it’s glory. And I still haven’t gotten over my fascination with multiple-color yarn.

Now it’s almost five years later, and I’m still knitting. Currently I’m making a blanket for a friend who is expecting her first baby, so I guess that’s why I’m feeling nostalgic. I also love the calming effect that knitting has on me. Is it the repeated, almost meditative motions? Is the the act of bringing order to chaos? Is it the creation of something beautiful? Whatever it may be, I’m glad that after all these years, I’ve finally found my crafty hobby of choice.